Tram 621, originally 284, was the first of 20 streamlined Railcoaches (284-303) supplied by the Brush Electrical Engineering Company of Loughborough in 1937. The Brush Railcoaches were extremely
luxurious vehicles for their time, featuring deep cushioned seats, concealed saloon lighting, decorative Alhambrinal panelling and clocks in both saloons. Sliding sunshine roof panels and full wind
down saloon windows provided plenty of fresh air on fine days.
The 20 Brush Railcoaches were set to work on Fleetwood, Promenade and Lytham Road services, with 284 entering service in July 1937. In 1940 the class was transferred to Bispham depot to work North Station to Fleetwood, and Lytham Road services, and as the war progressed their original cream and green livery was replaced by a mainly green style but with attractive cream sweeps on the side panels and a distinctive cream “V” on each end. After the war, brighter livery styles began to return, but the Brush Railcoaches remained at Bispham depot until this closed, along with the North Station route, in 1963. At this time 19 of the type transferred back to Rigby Road depot to operate the remaining Starr Gate to Fleetwood service, whilst the last member of the class, 303, was scrapped as non-standard having previously been used as a test bed for a new control system.
The class was renumbered 621-638 in 1968, and during the 1970s thirteen Brush cars were overhauled to a simplified specification which removed much of the former elegance from the saloons, replacing this with plastic ceiling panels, Formica above the windows and exposed bulb saloon lighting. The original full drop windows were replaced by half drop units from scrapped English Electric Railcoaches, which also donated their Z type controllers to replace the Crompton Parkinson units originally fitted, but which were now non-standard with the retained tramcar fleet. Conversions from the original twin destination screens to large single screens had started with car 288 in 1957, but our 621 was the last in service to retain twin screens, not being converted until 1980. For the 1985 season 621 received the first of many all over advertising liveries, in this case for Pleasure Beach attractions.
In 1987, 621 was treated to a comprehensive overhaul which included underframe repairs and a full rewire. New saloon glazing with hopper openers were installed, but apart from this, 621 remained traditional in appearance, and managed to escape some of the more extreme modifications made to fellow class members over subsequent years. Following overhaul, the tram was returned to use in green and cream fleet livery once more, this being updated in 1994 to the brand-new style featuring a green roof, centre doors and skirt, but with the rest cream. However, by 1996 621 was back in all over advertising, and would remain so, with periodic livery changes, for the remainder of its service career.
At the end of 2004 621 was withdrawn from service as one of 25 trams “mothballed” due to decreasing passenger numbers and to cut down the need to maintain such a large fleet. Initially 621 remained mobile, and could be seen shunting around the depot, but latterly it became stored in a gradually deteriorating condition.
In 2011, 621 was sold to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust and moved to Kirkham prison for storage and restoration work alongside classmate 627. However, 621 was subsequently acquired by a private consortium in 2014 and donated to the Beamish Museum near Durham, for eventual restoration. In a twist of fate, and following two years stored in the North East, Beamish offered the unrestored tram back to Blackpool in 2016, with the tram arriving back home at Rigby Road in the care of the Blackpool Heritage Trust (BHT) on 8th December. Transport costs to return the tram to Blackpool were covered by Peter Watts of PW Consultancy.
The 80th anniversary of the class in 2017 provided the impetus to restore 621 to service in Blackpool and with sponsorship received from Trams Magazine/The Blackpool Tram Shop, 621 was overhauled and restored to service in September 2017. It remains in its 1987 overhaul specification but is today beautifully painted in the ornate 1950’s livery style. 621 is on loan to Blackpool Transport and is a regular performer on their heritage tours. Ownership of the tram transferred to the FTT in December 2019 with the merger of the BHT and FTT.